Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The lost Jewish tribes of Nigeria still hope for aliyah - Israel Hayom Staff

by Israel Hayom Staff

i24NEWS' "Afrique" reports from the African country about the Igbo Jews, who practice Judaism and yearn for Zion, but have yet to be embraced by Israel

The lost Jewish tribes of Nigeria still hope for aliyah
Members of the Igbo Jewish community in Nigeria pray | Screenshot: i24NEWS
Finding people who recite traditional Jewish prayers in Nigeria is not an easy feat. In fact, if you ask Israelis if there are any Jews in Africa, they would probably point to South Africa and Ethiopia, not Nigeria. 

But i24NEWS’ Afrique magazine program managed to capture an authentic snapshot of what that that vibrant, albeit remote, community does, how it practices Judaism and how it yearns to return to its ancestral homeland in the land of Israel. 

The Igbo Jews, as they are called, are a small community in Nigeria within the large Igbo ethnic group. Nigeria’s overall population stands at some 180 million, but the Igbo Jews are a fraction of that.  Israel has repeatedly explored the possibility of recognizing them as Jewish, but their status among rabbinical authorities remains in limbo. 

“They claim to be descendants of the lost tribes of Israel and today observe religious practices very similar to rabbinical Judaism,” i24NEWS reporter Elinor Lalo says as she shows footage of the Igbo Jews praying the traditional Jewish afternoon prayer. 

“Since we do not have a mikveh, the ritual bath, we save water from the rain, and put a big pan under the rain, we let the water go into a pan,” one woman says. 

The report suggests that the Igbo Jews, young and old, appear to know more than what a secular Israeli Jew would know about Judaism. 

“While some are ready to leave everything behind for Israel, and others live very happily here in Nigeria, one dream unites them all – to one day set foot in the holy land,” Lalo says. 

You can see the full report on i24NEWS.tv

Israel Hayom Staff

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/2019/05/17/the-lost-jewish-tribes-of-nigeria-still-hope-for-aliyah/

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